Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Living in God’s Presence

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I used to think that God wanted me to work for Him. I ministered to my husband and three children first: keeping a casually clean home, cooking meals from scratch with my limited recipe base, minimizing mountains of dirty laundry, and participating in the life of my family at home, church, school and play.

I was under the impression that God also desired for me to spend all of my free time serving in the soup kitchen, going to Bible studies, taking abandoned children into our home, helping to lead worship in my church, teaching adults how to read, witnessing to everyone I met and a myriad of other activities as a Pastor's wife.

However, these very activities stole time away from my ability to actually live in the presence of God. Remember when Jesus went to the pool? He only healed one man (John 5:1-18).

Another time, when Jesus walked through the crowd, only the woman who touched his garment was healed (Luke 8:43-48). He could have healed everyone, but He lost a measure of spiritual energy whenever He did; so He paced Himself, used His power wisely and did only those things which God's Spirit directed Him to do.

Jesus taught the crowds, but He spent more time in solitary places communing with our Father God (Matthew 6:9-13, 11:25-26, 14:23; Luke 6:12, 22:32, 22:41-44, 23:34; John 11:41-42, 12:27-28, 17:1-26). He drew His strength, confidence and anointing from this relationship.

We can learn a lesson from Jesus’ life. He listened to God, heard His direction and did only what the Father said and did (John 5:19, 8:28, 12:49). He lived in the very center of God’s will. Now, He calls us to do this very same thing.

Sometimes, I actually argue with the Spirit’s leading, or discount it as a human thought which just floated through my mind. Maybe I am tired and I do not want to follow the Spirit’s leading. 

I have my own agenda for my day; so I decide to take a nap or go to the pool or make some craft instead of obeying my Father’s will. When I do, I quickly learn that I grieved the Holy Spirit and missed an opportunity to further the Kingdom of God and to receive His blessings.

Sometimes, God will lead us to nap, because of what lies ahead in our evening, or He has a person at the pool or golf course whom He wants us to talk to about Jesus. The point is to walk in the Spirit, so we do not reap the consequences of living in the flesh.

Prayer:
Father God, keep our thoughts centered on You as we learn to walk only in Your ways. Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the spiritual realm of life, so we do not walk in the flesh, but in Your Spirit (Galatians 5:15-25). We want to live for Your glory and to further Your Kingdom in the earth. You are our everything and we live to bring You pleasure.

We want to seek and to save the lost, just like Jesus did. We want to impact Your Kingdom in the earth every day that we reside on this earth. Remind us to smile at people, to engage strangers in conversation if they are willing, to minister to our neighbors' needs, to visit the sick and hospitalized, to do true religion that is pure and undefiled (James 1:27).

Thought for the Day:
We no longer rely on our human reasoning to direct our day, because we seek the Lord; He directs our path (Proverbs 3:5-6) as we walk through our day communing with our Father and following His Spirit’s direction even if it makes no human sense to us at all.

 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hope for Our Future


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Basking in the life, the presence and the Word of God are essential for the authentic Believer's well-being. Our body and soul cry out for our living God (Psalm 84:2).



God's presence is the only commodity, which will satisfy our longing and fill our hungry soul - our thoughts, choices and emotions (Psalm 107:9).



People fail to devote their whole life and soul to God for many reasons, including living in the whirlwind of vocation, pleasure, family issues, material possessions, etc.  Some are even riddled with doubt, debt and cynicism.



These are all modern idols and false gods. When we serve false gods, God sends plagues of all types in order to get our attention; yet, we often harden our heart all the more.



We view trials as punishment, rather than the Surgeon's skilled knife which brings repentance of sin and complete healing to areas of our life where Satan lied to us.



God desires to fulfill His glorious promises in us, which are full of mercy, grace and truth. His plans bring us prosperity rather than punishment, and they give us a hopeful future (Jeremiah 29:10-11).



However, we must first return to our first love, to pray for forgiveness for our sins and to call on Him. Then, He will listen to us. When we seek Him with our whole body, soul and spirit, we will always find Him (Jeremiah 29:12-13).



In God's everlasting arms, we enter His rest because He provides us with hope for our future, security for our spirit and peace for our soul. There is always hope in the Lord.



Prayer:

Father God, thank You for allow us to rest in Your everlasting embrace. You provide us with Your peace as we walk in Your Spirit, guidance as we consult You each moment of the day, and joy as we abide in Your presence within us. You restored us to Yourself and we glorify Your name and love You with all of our heart.



We live our life in worship to You, seeking first Your Kingdom rather than building our own kingdom (Matthew 6:33). We consult You in all of our ways and we want to do only Your will for our life. We make You our top priority in life and we diligently seek You in times of peace and turmoil alike.



Thought for the Day:

God never promises us a struggle free life; in fact, He made it clear that we would experience many trials and tribulation; yet, He always gives us His peace, which helps us to stay focused on Him rather than to depend on our own human understanding. - John 16:33; Philippians 4:7



Monday, August 29, 2016

No Longer a Sinner - Divinity of Christ in Us





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The Bible is full of symbolism. For instance, water baptism is a symbol of our death, burial and resurrection in Christ. We raise to walk in a new life with Him.

We do not die physically in baptism, but our flesh dies spiritually, and is now able to disregard the lure of sin in this world. Sin no longer tempts us as it used to, and we are free from its bondage.

We relate to Christ's new life in us to a greater degree than we connect to this world. We died together with Him; and it is Him, not us, that now lives in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

We are one with Christ; and through His divine nature within us, we die to the desire to sin. God adopts us into His family. We share in His benefits in His Kingdom of God as co-heirs with Jesus.

In Christ, we gradually become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our focus in life, our habits and the people we hang around with all change. Our life is spiritual now, rather than carnal and fleshly.

Our vital union with Jesus, puts us in right standing before God, our Father (John 15:1-11; Romans 6:3-11; Ephesians 5:30). He births our spirit, and we live a life which is pleasing to God. We are one with Christ and members of His Body.

Our old, carnal flesh - our intellect, emotions and will - is crucified with Christ and we died to sin (John 15:4; Romans 6:6, 8:11; Colossians 3:3, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 4:22). We are filled with the fruit of God's Spirit, which is the divine nature of Christ in us (Galatians 5:22-23).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that the fruit of Your Spirit grows in us only as we abide in Christ and follow Your will for our life (John 15:4). Our living union with the Trinity allows us to fellowship with You every moment of our day and results in our eternal security (John 10:27-30).

Create in us a clean heart, and use us as a living testimony for Your glory (Psalm 51:10). Thank You for loving us unconditionally and changing us from the inside out. We look forward to You continuing to change our relationship with You by Your Spirit, until our human nature is altered to one that reflects Your goodness to a lost and dying world.

Thought for the Day:
As a Christian, we are transformed by God's Spirit from one stage of glory to another until we reflect to the world the exact image of Christ in us. - 2 Corinthians 3:18; Hebrews 1:3